Test number two on the school year is in the books for the San Diego State and the Aztecs have once again passed, this time with a 30 - 20 victory over the Arizona State Sun Devils. Here is the report card for each position.
Going 9-18 for 78 yards seems statistically underwhelming but Christian Chapman did exactly what he needed to do for the Aztecs to win, not turn the ball over. He connected for a 55 yard TD that was called back for offensive pass interference, so the final numbers somewhat undersell how good of game he had. He completed the high percentage passes to backs out of the backfield and distributed to five different receivers on the night.
No fumbles and no interceptions is always a great way to help a run heavy team win a game. He was sacked four times on the night with keeps him at the B level for this week.
Running Backs: (A)
Rahsaad Penny is a mans man and earned himself the title of Walter Camp FBS national player of the week. His final stat line read like a video game: 355 all purpose yards, including 218 rushing yards, and 3 TD’s on the night (one rushing one receiving and one kick return). It was a text book performance on how to control the game with a dominant rushing attack, including a 95 yard TD run from Penny to start the scoring on the night.
The versatility and authority with which Penny is gaining yards is a very promising start to the season with several more huge games still to come. A big part of the running backs success on the night was Fullback nick Bawden who provided noticeably large holes for whoever was coming out of the backfield behind him, a healthy Bawden this season could be the unsung MVP of a dominant run game.
Wide Receivers: (C+)
Noticeably underwhelming night for the wideouts. Mikah Holder only one catch for seven yards. Having a 55 yard score called back for offensive PI hurt their score big, when the game plan calls for lots of running its essential for wideouts to capitalize big on every chance they get.
Offensive Line: (A-)
The fresh faces on the line continue to impress. The Aztecs averaged 6.5 yards per rush on the game and won the time of possession battle. Biggest blemish on the night was the four sacks, but when you help your running back win FBS National Player of the Week recognition then you get a little leeway.
Defensive Line: (B+)
Very effective at stopping the run, ASU ended the night averaging 1.4 yards per carry. Noble Hall is a big time playmaker and a great anchor to the line. Five sacks on the night is also a great sign that the pass rush is coming along. Giving up just under 300 passing yards on the night doesn't fall entirely on the D line but more pressure will be needed to stop the likes of Stanford. Also penalties are looking like they may be a weekly occurrence on the line. Still an overall solid night.
Ronley Lakalaka and company continue to provide the leadership and thump this defense relies upon. The backers were huge in limiting the run game for ASU, they also helped generate fumbles and sacks. Their ability to adapt to changed in the Sun Devils approach in the second half when they switched away from the run was impressive in showing how versatile this group can be.
Defensive Backs: (B)
So far true Freshman Safety Traiq Thompson, who had a fumble recovery, has been the biggest surprise on the season. Thompson and company turned in a solid put imperfect night, allowing 298 yards and a pair of passing touchdowns. Biggest issue on the night was allowing a 53 yard score in the 4th quarter to keep the game within reach with plenty of time still to play. In order to make a strong top 25 argument the SDSU defense needs to not allow any home run balls.
Special Teams: (A)
Rashaad Penny makes another appearance in this article with his 99 yard kickoff return for a score. John Baron went 3 for 3 in field goals. Normally i would say special teams kind of falls in to the pass / fail style of grading but when you have a night where you almost outscore your opponent just with special teams its time to bring out that A.